On the Frontlines of Development: Recruiting for the World’s Toughest Jobs

An aid work volunteer hands a bag of supplies to a young girl in Afghanistan. The Asian country is one of the most dangerous places for development professionals. Photo by: Tania Reid / isafmedia / CC BY isafmediaCC BY

Last year a convoy of employees and consultants for Chemonics was ambushed and murdered in Afghanistan, one of the worst incidents of violence in the field of international development. The year before a young woman who was a Presidential Management Fellow at USAID was shot in the eye in Sudan while on a routine mission.

Blackwater, one of the biggest contractors working in Iraq, reports more than 100 attacks and murders of its staff. Although a lack of systematic data collection means estimates on the number of aid workers and consultants killed in Iraq and Afghanistan must be culled from news reports, there is little doubt that development professionals are working in some of the most dangerous areas of the world.

About the author

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    Courtney Radsch

    Courtney C. Radsch has been a freelance editor and writer for Devex. Currently, she serves as associate editor and senior journalist for Al Arabiya's English-language Web site. She is a doctoral candidate at the American University's School of International Service, where her research focuses on the political impact of new media and blogging in Egypt. Courtney holds a master's degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and a bachelor's in mass communications from the University of California in Berkeley. She is fluent in French and proficient in Arabic and Spanish.